Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Data sharing implications of the Coroners and Justice Bill

Have you considered the data sharing implications of the Coroners and Justice Bill.

Clauses 152-154 appear to make very significant changes to the Data Protection Act (DPA)1998. The changes propose enabling any government minister(s), following the approval of the Secretary of State responsible for data protection matters, to make an Information Sharing Order enabling any designated person or organisation to share specified information which includes at least some personal data. It would also severely weaken the independence of the Information Commissioner.

see for more information.

I would urge everyone to consider the implications of this, particularly in relation to the confidentiality of health records, and campaign for opposition to or amendment of the bill as currently proposed to protect the rights of the individual and ensure that the ethical codes practiced by several large professional groups, among which are clinicians and health informaticians are protected.


Sunday, February 01, 2009

PeRSSonalized Medicine; Health Blogs Observatory

Are Health 2.0 applications like buses - you wait for ages for something decent, then they all start coming along at once? This weekend saw the launch of two new applications - PeRSSonalized Medicine, from Bertalan Mesko's Webicina portal, and the Health Blogs Observatory, from Ivor Kovic and colleagues.

I wonder - is it any coincidence that they both originate out of eastern Europe (Hungary and Croatia, respectively)?

Bertalan explains the genesis of PeRSSonalized Medicine in a post on his Scienceroll blog. It was based in a discussion of why so few doctors use Web 2.0 tools (in my view, the question could be expanded to all health professionals, including nurses). He has created a free tool to help "track medical journals, blogs, news and web 2.0 services really easily and creates one personalized place where they can follow international medical content without having a clue what RSS is about". The nice thing about it is that is not 'one size fits all', but allows for a degree of personalisation of what content to follow (albeit from a list that the site provides - but hopefully this will expand over time, and Berci invites suggestions for additional resources).

The Health Blogs Observatory aims to provide a directory of health-related blogs (and Informaticopia is in there already), but also to "conduct annual surveys of health bloggers and their blogs to gain better insights into the state of health blogging", something Ivor has already done and published on (

They are both worthwhile ventures - visit, contribute, collaborate, and help them grow.

Of course, you can follow both of them via RSS feeds, on Twitter, etc. - eg, and

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